Short Lists on a Diagnosis

By Aran Donovan

Featured Art: A City Park by William Merritt Chase

Ever so rare: the robin’s egg that’s fallen
at the doorstep, as yet untouched by ants
or useless knowledge. A letter mailed from France,
its certain words predestined. New snow, appalling
last spring on cars, mailboxes. Quite rare: the pollen
of narcissus but more rare the bees that dance
their distance. The choreography of plants,
shadow of leaves. St. Francis granting pardon.

More common: construction on the way to work,
the broken earth and open pipe. The trite
condolence of a friend. Misunderstandings
on the phone. The removal of your blouse and skirt
for the new doctor. How it’s come back in spite
of all you’d hoped, your vain and human plannings.


Aran Donovan has lived in France, Italy, and New Mexico, but New Orleans feels like home. A graduate of the Arkansas MFA program and Middlebury Summer Language Schools, she was a 2012 resident at the Edward A. Albee Foundation and a 2010 Walton Family Endowment for Creative Writing fellow. Her writing has appeared in such journals as The Common, The Journal, Rattle, and in Best New Poets 2013. She tweets sporadically @barelymarigny.

Piece originally published in NOR 13.

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